glass with drink and ice
Pexels photo: Tommaso Bernabeo

Restaurants at liberty to charge for ice, tap water and use of crockery

Catering and drinking establishments “can establish internal operating rules”

With a price being put on the value of almost everything these days, it is worth being aware that next time you order ice and lemon with a drink, you may well be charged extra for it.

Lusa news agency has been questioning AHRESP, Portugal’s association of hotels, restaurants and similar services, to discover that catering and drinking establishments are free to charge for ice, glasses of tap water, even the use of crockery (when people, for example, bring a birthday cake to an occasion…). All they are obliged to do is publicise whatever “internal operating rules” they have established ‘properly’.

This means displaying this information in a prominent place near the entrance to the establishments, explains Ana Jacinto, AHRESP’s secretary general – so that customers are aware.

Says Lusa, “according to several reports, there are restaurants that are charging for the use of crockery when, for example, at a birthday dinner, customers take the cake and use the establishment’s plates, as well as for ice or glasses of water.

AHRESP’s response is that all this is “permitted” as long as this information is duly identified and defined in the establishment’s price list, which must be made available near the entrance and inside the establishments.

AHRESP added that since July 2021, hotel, restaurant, cafeteria and catering establishments have been obliged to provide customers with a container of tap water and sanitised glasses for on-site consumption, free of charge or at a lower cost than the packaged water provided by the establishments.

If the establishment decides to charge for the glasses of water, it must do so at a lower cost than that charged for the packaged water it also has for consumption in the establishment,” said Ana Jacinto, adding that these amounts must be duly identified on the invoice, under the terms of the VAT Code.

Source: LUSA